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em·pire
ˈemˌpī(ə)r/
noun
an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group

The USA:

Has more foreign military bases than any country in world history. The number is estimated to be from 700 to over 1,000

Spends more on violence than the rest of the world combined

Has overthrown or attempted to overthrow some 60 countries since WW2, the majority of them democracies

For more details, CLICK HERE for a brief, bullet-point overview of the US empire

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

US Imperialism, Afghanistan, and Hillary Clinton

Brief overview of the USA's imperial butchery of Afghanistan, and relation to likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who cannot be allowed continued power over history's biggest war-machine, the USA.

Afghanistan




The USA, in 1979 (though it had been funding these forces for years already), assembled a proxy army of Islamic fundamentalists, the Moujahedeen, to overthrow the Russian-backed Afghan government, which had stability and rights for women. The US and its terrorist army succeeded in ending that. After almost two million deaths, mostly civilians, the US-backed Islamic extremists brought Afghanistan back to the middle ages and formed the Taliban, with US support. (Al Qaeda also blossomed from the Moujahedeen.) 


The USA, particularly with the company Unocal, then spent years trying to work out a gas pipeline deal with the Taliban.  Negotiations included flying Taliban members to Dallas and Washington, (and, just for fun, taking them to see Mt. Rushmore (here)), as well as providing various kinds of support including medical aid, technology, training camps, and at least part of up to 20 million dollars Unocal put into the efforts (here).  The USA also tried to convince the Taliban to expand its government to cover all of Afghanistan - a project that would obviously mean expanding violence, repression of women, and Sharia law.


In October 1998, Julie Sirrs, a military analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), traveled to Afghanistan to investigate why the USA was not cutting ties with the Taliban after associates of bin Laden had attacked US embassies in August 1998, the eighth anniversary of US military presence in Saudi Arabia.  The US tried, but failed, to kill bin Laden by bombing him in Afghanistan later that same month.


Sirrs reported back that:

"With even a little aid to the Afghan resistance, we [the USA] could have pushed the Taliban out of power. But there was great reluctance by the State Department and the CIA to undertake that.” She partly blames the interest of the US government and the oil company Unocal to see the Taliban achieve political stability to enable a trans-Afghanistan pipeline (see May 1996 and September 27, 1996). She claims, “Massoud [a leader of the Taliban resistance] told me he had proof that Unocal had provided money that helped the Taliban take Kabul.” She also states, “The State Department didn’t want to have anything to do with Afghan resistance, or even, politically, to reveal that there was any viable option to the Taliban.”  
When Sirrs returned to the US and reported her findings, she was ignored and stripped of her security clearance, despite being cleared of any wrongdoing.  She quit the DIA in frustration in 1999.  (See here.)

In July and August 1999, Taliban, as well as al Qaeda linked militia members again visit the USA, their expenses paid by US taxpayers and the University of Nebraska:

Thomas Gouttierre, an academic heading an Afghanistan program at the University of Nebraska, hosts their visit. Gouttierre is working as a consultant to Unocal at the time, and some Taliban visits to the US are paid for by Unocal, such as a visit two years earlier (see December 4, 1997). However, it is unknown if Unocal plays a role in this particular trip. Gouttierre had previously been paid by the CIA to create Afghan textbooks promoting violence and jihad (see 1984-1994). It is unknown if any of these visitors meet with US officials during their trip. (here)  
It can't be said that the USA didn't know about the extreme tortures, repression of women and others, and Sharia law, etc., that the people they were supporting were carrying out.  Everyone knew.  "For example, [the USA] made no comment when the Taliban captured Herat in 1995, and expelled thousands of girls from schools; the Taliban [also] began killing unarmed civilians, targeting ethnic groups (primarily Hazaras), and restricting the rights of women." (see here and here)

And the Daily Telegraph, in 1997, reported that “the US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban’s policies against women and children ‘despicable,’ appears anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract.” (here)


And here is William Blum quoting a New York Times article from 1979, the major year the USA used the Moujahedeen to set the "Afghan trap" by destabilizing the country, torturing the Afghan population, forcing them to call for Soviet help, and causing the Soviets to invade Afghanistan, which they did after repeated requests from Afghanistan:
...a “favorite tactic” of the Moujahedeen was “to torture victims by first cutting off their nose, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another”, producing “a slow, very painful death”. 
This was similar to tortures the British colonizers inflicted on Native Americans.  At the very least, these jihadi practices didn't matter to the US, and may in some ways be considered a plus: there were natural resources, and the USA wanted to seize control of them through violence.  The USA has a bit of a rap sheet on this subject, going back to colonial North America (and continuing from there non-stop): Any time resources were discovered on land promised to be left to the Native Americans, the colonizers would suddenly mysteriously decide that they needed to break their solemn treaties, violently cleanse the Natives from the land, and seize it for "national security" reasons.  (Yeah, no one knows what you're doing, guys.  Very tricky.)  The USA has since simply expanded into doing this on a global scale, neo-imperialism style.  The rhetoric has not been updated.  

The Taliban would not accept all US demands on the pipeline.  Thus, prior to 9/11/01, the US threatened (and prepared) to attack the Taliban militarily if it continued to try to dictate its own terms for the deal.  

Then the 9/11/01 attack happened.  Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, Niaz Naik, who had been part of the US/Taliban pipeline negotiations, predicted to the BBC (see here) on September 18, 2001, that the USA would invade Afghanistan no matter what the Taliban did regarding Osama bin Laden, whom the US had demanded be extradited, while openly refusing to give evidence of his guilt, which is required by law for extradition.

Naik was correct.

As reported in The Guardian:
On 16 October, [2001,] Muttawakil, the Taliban foreign minister, dropped the condition to see evidence [of bin Laden's guilt] and offered to send bin Laden to a third country...
US officials rejected the offer.
"On 7 October 2001, the U.S. government launched military operations in Afghanistan.  The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) did not authorize the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom)", meaning the invasion, ongoing and massively escalated by Obama, was and is the supreme international crime, aggression, for which Nazis were hanged at Nuremberg.  

As the Taliban's Mullah Omar had said would happen, the Taliban simply retreated into the mountains as the US invasion began the killings of thousands of people, none of whom have ever been linked to the 9/11 attack.

While fighting the dug-in Taliban, the USA installed the Karzai government and immediately restarted work on the gas pipeline deal (see here), now with the support of the second Afghan government brought to power by the US through massive violence and slaughter of civilians ("One of [the US-installed] Karzai’s first acts as President of Afghanistan, in fact, was the signing of a new agreement with Turkmenistan and Pakistan on the building of a pipeline in 2002. (ibid))

The US-installed Afghan government was now not an obstacle, but the pipeline was to carry gas from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, to Pakistan's coast.  

The president of Turkmenistan wanted signed proof of US government backing of the project.  That came from Hillary Clinton. 
"...both Chevron and Exxon-Mobil expressed interest in TAPI [the pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan]. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow received a letter backing Chevron's project from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." - Wall Street Journal, here
What Clinton did for Chevron is a pure illustration of the welding of state and corporate power, of the kind seen when ambitious colonizers used government forces to seize resource-rich land from Native Americans.  That, in combination with Clinton's push for vastly increasing the flow of young US men and women into Afghanistan, is an illustration of pure neo-imperialism - using state power (meaning sacrificing other people's lives) on behalf of corporate cronies.  Young men and women who are told they are killing and dying to protect "freedom" ("Operation Enduring Freedom"), etc., are actually clearing the way for Chevron, as the colonizers cleared the Natives so their resources could likewise be seized.  Professor James Petras:
Imperialism is a political and economic phenomenon. The multinational corporations (MNC) operate in many countries, but they receive their political support, economic subsidies and military insurance from the imperial state (IS) concerned with the MNC. The IS negotiates or imposes trade and investment agreements favorable to the MNC. At the same time the IS uses the MNC to influence overseas regimes to concede military bases and submit to its sphere of influence. Imperialism is the combined forceful overseas expansion of state and corporations. 
Once again, we see that Hillary Clinton is more than willing to spend other people's lives on behalf of US imperialism, in this case specifically for her wealthy corporate cronies and needed campaign donors (see here) in the fossil fuel industry.

Obama is the same.  After Clinton, he sent his personal letter to the president of Turkmenistan "emphasizing a common interest in helping develop Afghanistan and expressing [his] support for TAPI and his desire for a major U.S. firm to construct it." (WSJ)

The quoted WSJ article, above, illustrates the geopolitcal interests in Afghanistan from the crass financial perspective - the perspective shared by multi-millionaires and corporate-backed politicians Hillary Clinton and Obama.  The WSJ mentions none of the millions of people who have been slaughtered, thanks to the US, particularly since 1979, so that the US could take control of Afghan resources.  The WSJ simply drools over the new possibilities, which revolve around massive profits and entrenched power over others, which means the ability to gain further resource control and profits.  (Also unmentioned is the small issue of carbon emissions making the planet uninhabitable.)

In the USA's butchery of Afghanistan, we see true motives of US elites, like Hillary Clinton, starkly revealed (not that they are ever less than absurdly obvious, as illustrated by colonizers suddenly seizing Native land, when resources were discovered on it, for "national security" reasons, and by Bush and Obama, to create a pretext for targeting Iran again, having to embarrassingly defy all their intelligence agencies and say Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, and the like).  

There was no humanitarian motive in waging a murderous Islamic fundamentalist proxy war against an Afghanistan that had women's rights, killing millions, then bringing the Taliban to power and for years, as they beat and repressed women and others, supporting them and trying to get them to expand over the whole country, and then when they were uncooperative on the pipeline and defiant to the US, ignoring their pleas for cooperation and launching an illegal invasion of the country, slaughtering thousands more, and installing a friendly government.  The motivation is perfectly clear: money and power, which leads to more money and power, and comes at the expense of expendable peons, who are just poor, stupid people, anyway.

Some liars or misguided or uninformed souls claim the reason for the 2001 invasion was that Afghanistan supports terrorism and was uncooperative with the US on that issue.  However, we have seen that Afghanistan tried to comply with US "demands" and was rebuffed, as were Iraq and many other victims of the US.  

We also know that most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.  We find out from Mrs. Clinton herself, in a 2009 cable leaked by Wikileaks, that Saudi Arabia is the world's largest supporter of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and is unwilling to end its support.  

We also know that the Saudi government was almost certainly a state sponsor of the 9/11 attacks.  

So we have in Saudi Arabia a state that is the world's biggest sponsor of terrorism and is uncooperative on the issue, and from which most of the hijackers came, and which provided support for the 9/11 attacks.  

As the world's biggest supporter of Sunni terrorism and the Taliban and a sponsor of the 9/11 attacks, it would seem Saudi Arabia is a worse criminal, by the USA's standards for invading Afghanistan, than Afghanistan.  Saudi Arabia is also home to gargantuan oil resources - the world's largest.   

However, Saudi Arabia is already a US ally.  Thus, it was not invaded after 9/11, as the US already had allies there and thus influence over the oil resources and no need to violently install a different government, since massive support for terrorism is not a reason for doing that, in the eyes of the USA.  (And as we see with people like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, being an oil ally makes Saudi Arabia, which practices wild executions and mass repression of women, unfit for actual criticism on human and women's rights - see here.)  

On the contrary, massive support for terrorism seems to have little effect on US policy: In 2013 the Obama white house sold almost a billion dollars of internationally banned cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, followed by 60 billion dollars in lethal weaponry, the largest weapons sale in US history.  This as Saudi Arabia, the US, and other allies, support yet another jihadist proxy war, this one against Syria, the goal being regime change to eliminate an ally of Iran, which has enormous oil and gas resources that the US has already seized and lost once.  In the process of US imperial butchery of Iran, the US is also complicit in killing over a million Iranians. 

Millions of Afghans, millions of Iranians, millions of Iraqis, tens of thousands of Syrians, and many others unmentioned here...

Not for "freedom" or "national security".  For the enrichment of a tiny class of millionaires and billionaires.  

People like Hillary Clinton cannot be allowed to remain in control of armies, much less the biggest and most terrible war-machine in world history, the USA (a war-machine that must be deconstructed).

Do not vote for Hillary Clinton, or any "democrat".  (Obviously, we can't vote for a "republican" either.)

Update:

7/9/14


The US plutocracy, currently figure-headed by Obama, is still pushing forward with the Afghan pipeline project, clawing for two major US fossil fuel-exploiting companies to clinch it, and blatantly excluding non-US-empire-aligned Iran.  Their goal is to strengthen the US stranglehold over Middle East energy resources, recognized by US planners, in 1945, to be a "stupendous" source of wealth and strategic power.

As Mike Whitney puts it:
[T]he State Department applies [its] muscle and “Voila”, Chevron and Exxon clinch the deal. How’s that for a free market? 
And who do you think is going to protect that 1,000 mile stretch of pipeline through hostile Taliban-controlled Afghanistan? 
Why US troops, of course, which is why US military bases are conveniently located up an down the pipeline route. Coincidence?
Not on your life. 
This is simply a continuation of US colonizers using their armies of brainwashed young people to commit murder and die for the purpose of stealing and securing resources on Native American land, then land all around the world, as today in Afghanistan and elsewhere, for the benefit of an obscenely wealthy few, who bathe in the blood of thousands upon thousands of innocent people.  The USA has simply expanded its imperial colonizing globally since conquering the North American continent.  

Remember, when resources were discovered on land that was promised to be left to the Native Americans, the US colonizers would suddenly "need" to seize it for, of course, "national security" reasons, which is why almost nothing was left to the Natives.  See here for a time-lapse animation of the US annexation of the North American continent.   

This Nazi-like culture of brutal imperialism has gone virtually undeterred and simply expanded to do carry out its exploitation campaigns globally, killing millions in the process, as we see in the example of Afghanistan and hundreds of other countries.

Whitney goes on:
This is the . anarchic “Mad Max” template Washington is applying wherever it intervenes. The intention is to dissolve the nation-state in order to remove any obstacle to resource extraction, which is why failed states are popping up wherever the US sticks its big nose. It’s all by design. Chaos is the objective. Simply put: It’s easier to steal whatever one wants when there’s no center of power to resist.
He discusses how the US has employed this model in Ukraine, as well, where US-picked junta leaders such as "Yats" (Yatsenyuk) are now "giving away the farm", Ukraine's gas, to US companies.  
US corporations will be able to buy up nearly half of a pipeline that moves 60 percent of the gas that flows from Russia to Europe. That’s what you call a tollbooth . and US companies will be in just the right spot to gouge Moscow for every drop of natural gas that transits those pipelines. 
Here, he illustrates the superfluous, criminal, murderous and lecherous role the US plutocracy is playing in the relationship between Russia and Europe: 
Europe and Russia are a perfect fit. Europe needs gas to heat its homes and run its machinery. Russia has gas to sell and needs the money to strengthen its economy. It’s a win-win situation. What Europe and Russia don’t need is the United States. In fact, the US is the problem. As long as US meddling persists, there’s going to be social unrest, division, and war. It’s that simple. So the goal should be to undermine Washington’s ability to conduct these destabilizing operations and force US policymakers to mind their own freaking business. That means there should be a concerted effort to abandon the dollar, ditch US Treasuries, jettison the petrodollar system, and force the US to become a responsible citizen that complies with International law. 
It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen, mainly because everyone is sick and tired of all the troublemaking.
However, as Whitney has noted elsewhere, the US plutocracy will kill and impoverish many, many more people as it flails to maintain is global empire, so we must pursue all non-violent avenues to mitigate the death, destruction, and terror.

 
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Notes:

Further sources herehere, and here.


List of Hillary Clinton's pro-war and imperialism record, HERE


Yasushi Akashi, U.N. Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, was critical of "outside interference in Afghanistan" in 1997, which, he said, "is now all related to the battle for oil and gas pipelines. The fear is that these companies and regional powers are just renting the Taliban for their own purposes." (Here)


"...neither the [Taliban] ‘militant’ nor his ‘ideology’ was being fought. Rather, he was courted and his ideology utilized for US strategic and economic interests, particularly as both converged in a slick of oil by 1995.  Furthermore, considering that it was only when absolute control of that oil was challenged that the Taliban regime was openly discredited, it must be said that although this ‘militant’ and his ‘ideology’ were publically ‘being fought’ from 1998 to 2001, other ‘militants’ with similar ‘ideologies’ continued to find support, and even that could have been dropped in favour of the Taliban at any point if it had compromised on the issue of oil. Confirmation of this hypothesis, in fact, comes with the inauguration of President Bush (Jr.), one of whose first acts in January and February, 2001, was to open negotiations between the US and the Taliban regime, conducted in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad, in which Laila Helms (niece of former CIA Director Richard Helms) was hired by the Taliban to act as go-between; negotiations that ended around May, 2001, according to various sources including a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, with the ultimatum that the Unocal pipeline would go ahead or bombs would rain on Afghanistan. From 1998 to 2001, therefore, the Taliban ‘militant’ was fought in the name of his ‘ideology,’ but in the interests of oil.  ...  ‘Exactly what…is being fought’ today, Roy astutely asks. The short answer is that today, as has been the case since 1979, neither a specific ‘militant’ nor ‘ideology’ is ‘being fought.’ Rather, the target of operations, for which more troops are now being sought, is anyone who challenges the interests of an oil-drenched ‘New World Order.’" (M. REZA PIRBHAI, Assistant Professor of South Asian History at Louisiana State University, here)

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